I've never really considered myself to be overly entitled.
I was raised in a large family where sharing was expected and required. As an adult I was almost instantly a wife and mother and set those early lessons into practice as our family grew.
I don't feel entitled to my own car. To a bigger home or nicer things. I don't feel entitled to quiet time on a regular basis, dinners out or lovely clothes. I don't expect a free ride for anything. I think I tend to see consumerism and entitlement in the same light and since one is not an issue for me, maybe the other isn't?
The truth is, everyone feels entitled to something. It may be something small, like a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Or a heads up before someone just drops by. I feel entitled to raise my kids the way I want, thank you very much. The more I've thought about entitlement, the more I've seen instances of it in my daily life. If I clean up the kitchen before going to bed and wake up to late night snack dishes my husband left, I get downright indignant. I feel entitled to the kitchen looking the way I think it ought to.
Entitlement is a reasonable (or not) expectation of getting my own way. And when something I feel that ownership over doesn't? Watch out!
As a Christian, entitlement requires a closer look.
God has beautiful plans for us, yes even ones that require us to lay down the things we are grasping tightly, those things we feel like we deserve or own - and open ourselves up to more. Life in Christ was never about "set it and forget it." A one time change, then set in comfortable predictability for life.
Life in Christ is all about change, being molded, drawn out, purified and discovered. Over and over and over again.
I think about the story of the rich young man who wants to follow Jesus - and goes away saddened when Jesus says all he needs to do is sell everything he has, give it to the poor, and follow. I've always thought this is about monetary wealth - but people can be rich in many things. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. What am I rich in? What entitlements do I cling to that hinder me following the narrow way? What are my non-negotiables, the things that I treasure up for myself and refuse to give up?
This Lent I am praying for a change of heart - but also a change of mind. For a softened will - a pliability I know is only possible with absolute surrender and trust.
When we turn away from one thing, we turn toward something else. Something new. Entitlements may just hold us back from the next thing - maybe even the better thing.
I may think I am in control of my tightly held entitlements, but that is a fallacy. A false comfort. Today I'm claiming true comfort in the knowledge that God is all goodness and I am all loved. That is the only place to set a permanent foundation that will out last anything else.
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